Just ten days ago, I was sitting on a beach in South Carolina – Shorts on, paddling in the warm surf as the sun went down and a warm breeze blew along the shore. That was a whole ten days ago though.... things are a little different now....
I am back in Winnipeg and the summer is over. The winter begins.
|...to this....in just 10 days!!|
I thought it would be about time to introduce you to what I can expect over the next few months. The winters over here are unlike anything that England has ever experienced since the Ice age.
In fact the whole climate around Winnipeg is very unusual - even for Canada. I will attempt to explain why this is so:-
Winnipeg lies at the bottom of The Red River Valley – a low lying flood plain which is extremely flat. This prairie location means that there are few barriers to weather coming southwards from the Arctic – you therefore get very cold winds coming down from the north in wintertime. This gives Winnipeg a very short, but warm summer and a very long and cold winter. To give some clarity to the temperatures over here I will show you a small comparison to the temperatures in Skegness:-
Average High temperatures in January
Average low temperatures in January
Yep – The AVERAGE HIGH temperature in January is MINUS 12 DEGREES CELSIUS!!
In fact the temperature range over the year is bloody mental – The highest and lowest temperatures recorded in Winnipeg range from +42.2 Celsius to a mind boggling -47.8 Celsius. That’s a swing of 90degrees!!
During the three months from December through to February the daily temperatures are expected to rise above freezing for only about 10 days and 49 days are expected to be below -20 degrees centigrade. If you add the wind to this temperature then it obviously drops even lower- The coldest temperature recorded with wind chill added was MINUS 57.1 DEGREES centigrade!!
|The local pub...|
|...school playing field....|
|...and the river.|
There are plus points however – Winnipeg has some of the clearest skies in Canada – this means that there is a lot of sunshine which in turn stops the cold winter air from being too damp. This dry winter cold is well known to be more pleasant than the damp winter cold that you would feel in more overcast places like Toronto. You are also almost guaranteed a white Christmas here in Winnipeg. Snow will cover the ground on most days from November to March or even into early April, although in general the winters are supposed to moderate in late February. There is an average 132 days a year with some snow cover though.
Winnipeg is also now the 2nd coldest city in the world with a population over 600,000. Second coldest doesn’t sound that bad? Well, it was the coldest city of that size until a city in Mongolia, called Ulan Bator grew in size to become bigger than Winnipeg taking its top spot away.
So that’s it – that’s what I can expect over the coming months. So I have a few weeks to get prepared for what even other Canadians jokingly call ‘Winterpeg’. I have prepared myself for a clod one. For now, I have thermal tops that I bought in chilly New York last winter. I have two good fleeces and a hand-made and extremely warm and comfortable hat and scarf. I also have my face buff that I used to wear to keep my face warm whilst snowboarding. I may look at getting a new pair of boots if the shoes and boots that I already have aren’t up to the job. Living through a winter here is going to be an interesting experience though and I will attempt to keep you up to date with it all.
|Its quite nice really.|
|The geese are flying south!|
For now, I have added a few photos on here. These are a few of the places near to where we live. The river is just a hundred metres away, past the school playing field. I have also taken some photos of the local shop and the outside of our apartment block. They don’t look too interesting right now, but I want to compare them in the coming weeks, to see how much snow really does fall and how the photos change!
|Our apartment block|
As you can see from the photos, the first snow fell yesterday afternoon and over night. We only had an inch or two and it’s still quite pleasant outside, even though the local sign outside the health centre is showing 0 degrees.
|Look slowly, the sign says 0!!|
So thats it for now.... Ill let you know how we get on with the snow and how I get through the winter as it goes. For now, I have to go and make an Octopus.....dont ask!!